Society’s efforts, the Georgia bill died in committee.
Additionally, the ACS sent a letter and engaged in a
grassroots campaign in Maryland. At press time, legislation that would expand optometrists’ scope of practice
continues to remain active in Alaska, Florida, Iowa,
North Carolina, Maryland, and Nebraska.
Definition of surgery
The Connecticut Chapter of the ACS is advocating for
legislation that would establish a definition of surgery.
In November and December 2016, the Connecticut
Chapter participated in a Department of Public Health
roundtable discussion along with other physician and
nonphysician groups about a definition-of-surgery
report presented to the state legislature. At present,
no bill has been introduced in the legislature to define
surgery in Connecticut state statutes. Members of the
Connecticut Chapter discussed the importance of the
legislation with lawmakers at their lobby day on March
16. But as the deadline for the legislature to adjourn
is June 7, and state budget negotiations remain tense
between the governor and the legislature, the probability of a bill being introduced and considered in 2017
becomes less likely.
ANP independent practice authority
Advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) continue to seek
independent practice authority, introducing legislation to this effect in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois,
Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The ACS sent a letter to
the Arkansas legislature opposing a bill to remove a
requirement that physicians supervise certified nurse
Balance billing/out of network
Patient protections from unexpected out-of-pocket
expenses for medical care are a continuing issue for
state legislatures. Georgia, New Jersey, Rhode Island,
and Washington have introduced bills to address sur-
prise billing through either dispute resolution using
third-party data (Georgia and Rhode Island) or limiting
out-of-network payments to providers at in-network
facilities to a percent of Medicare (New Jersey and
Trauma prevention and systems
As of late March, nearly 50 distracted driving bills were
under consideration in state legislatures. Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Montana, North
Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island,
Texas, Vermont, and Washington have bills that either
prohibit using mobile devices for texting, making calls,
and using the Internet or strengthen clarifications on
current policy. Four states are seeking an increase in
penalties for violating distracted driving laws. Colorado
is seeking to raise the first-time offender fine to $500
from $50; Maine is proposing to suspend an offender’s
driver’s license for 90 days; New Mexico is looking
to increase the fine by $100; and New Jersey legislators are working to elevate the charge of distracted
driving to vehicular homicide if it results in a death.
Iowa and Kansas have bills to remove restrictions on
police officers, which would enable them to enforce distracted driving laws. Conversely, policymakers in New
Hampshire have proposed legislation to remove laws
prohibiting the use of electronic devices while driving.
Five states, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,
Hawaii, and Iowa have introduced bills that would
require all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear
helmets. Despite the Connecticut bill being sponsored
by the Chair of the Transportation Committee and a
statement of support from the Connecticut Chapter,
the committee decided not to advance the legislation
any further. Similarly, in Delaware, after ACS Fellows
along with transportation safety advocates testified in
support of the universal helmet bill, the House Public
Safety and Homeland Security Committee voted to
table the legislation.
Conversely, bills have been introduced in four states
to create exemptions to existing universal helmet laws.
Specifically, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and West
Virginia would exempt operators and passengers ages
21 and older. Meanwhile, bills introduced in Missouri
would mandate that operators and passengers ages 18
Despite political uncertainty and fiscal challenges, the regular
order of business has not stopped in the state legislatures.